HYDERABAD: The Telangana High Court has put its foot down on the current process of the registration of non-agricultural properties in the State. A division bench on Thursday directed the State government to revise the user manual, meant for the registration of the properties, by deleting Aadhaar, caste and relevant references from it and the software. It also ordered an immediate halt on slot bookings and providing PTIN for the registrations till the user manual is revised.
The bench made it clear that the court is worried about the safety and security of sensitive data such as citizens' Aadhaar numbers. It, however, permitted the government to continue with the registration without seeking Aadhaar, caste and family members' details of buyers, sellers and witnesses.
The registration authorities can seek other documents for proof of identity instead. The bench pointed out that the manual clearly states that the buyer, seller and witnesses have to divulge their Aadhaar details, which is in violation of the government’s undertaking submitted to the court.
The bench, comprising Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice B Vijaysen Reddy, passed the order in a batch of petitions which has challenged the State government’s decision to seek Aadhaar, caste and family members’ details for Dharani portal in respect of non-agricultural properties.
During the course of the hearing, the bench pulled up the government for violating its undertaking that it will not insist on Aadhaar and other details. It also found fault with the contents of the counter affidavit filed by the Chief Secretary, wherein it was stated that revealing Aadhaar details is optional, which contradicts the government’s undertaking given to the court earlier.
The bench reminded that the State Advocate General (AG) had given an undertaking during the last hearing - on December 10 - that the State will not ask for Aadhaar and caste details. The State, with a clever ploy, is seeking the details in the garb of slot booking and for providing PTIN to property owners.
Such a clever move cannot be permitted by the court and if permitted, it will be like allowing a litigant to take the court for a ride and to fool it, the bench observed.
Senior advocate D Prakash Reddy, appearing for one of the petitioners, said the government has not bothered to revise the manual despite the court restraining the State from obtaining the details. The bench told the government to place the revised manual before the court by the next date of hearing which is likely this month-end.
'Worried about safety of sensitive data'
The bench made it clear that the court is worried about the safety and security of sensitive data such as citizens’ Aadhaar numbers. It, however, permitted the govt to continue with the registration without seeking Aadhaar, caste and family members’ details of buyers, sellers and witnesses